Recently Daniel Burka wrote in his article that people outside design teams also make decisions which affect the customer which makes everyone a designer. The decisions made by all teams contribute to the success or failure of a product. Design isn’t done in a vacuum or behind closed doors, it is done by ideating and iterating together across all teams. Design is done by getting out of our echo chambers and talking to people with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Design is done by sharing our ideas, collaborating, getting feedback, and having conversations with people outside the design teams.
Communication between teams can happen through a variety of channels such as the verbal, written, and visual channels. We use emails to write out and communicate our ideas but those can get bogged down in long chains of replies yet go nowhere. Not to mention the high chances that the message will most likely be misunderstood. During meetings, we talk about our ideas and try to get validation through verbal communication but we can easily be misunderstood by others through miscommunication or through unchecked assumptions. When sharing our ideas through the visual channel we are able to help people connect with our message at a more deeper level. Individually the channels we use to communicate can introduce miscommunication but when we use them together we can make sure our ideas are understood clearly and quickly.
When sharing our ideas through the visual channel we are able to help people connect with our message at a more deeper level.
Benefits of Visual Communication
Humans are wired for visual communication. From the prehistoric cave paintings to the meteoric rise of SnapChat, from the hieroglyphics on the pyramid walls to current day comics culture, we can see how visual communication is an integral part of us humans.
Why is communicating visually more impactful than the other methods?
- Almost 50% of our brain is used for processing visuals.
- The eye contains 70% of all our sensory receptors
- Our brains can understand a visual in less than 1/10th of a second.
- A visual can be processed in 150 milliseconds and we can attach meaning to the visual in 100 milliseconds.
By sketching our ideas we are able to get more targeted feedback which helps us be nimble when designing our products.
Sketching To The Rescue
Sketching is an effective method of communication because we get to use multiple channels of communication together. For example, when we sketch an idea on a whiteboard during a meeting, people can see our ideas visually. We also talk through the idea and answer any questions people may have to clarify what we mean through the verbal channel. When we annotate our sketches we use the written channel. By adding labels and descriptions we help people understand the important parts of our message. By using multiple channels to communicate we give our ideas the support they need to be realized. Sketching to communicate helps sell our ideas efficiently. Other teams are able to connect with our ideas because they are able to visualize them with fewer chances of misunderstanding. By sketching our ideas we are able to get more targeted feedback which helps us be nimble when designing our products.
Everyone is a designer, which means everyone needs to use sketching as a tool to communicate their ideas within and across teams. All teams within a company should harness the power of sketching to communicate. Let's make sketching the language of ideas that is spoken across the company so we can make sure we are all designing great products together as one.
Where do you stand on the statement that everyone is a designer? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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